LEE COUNTY, Fla. - A woman signs up with an alarm company to protect her home and instead becomes a victim of identity theft. The salesman who came into her home ended up paying his bill with her credit card. She made a Call for Action to help make it right.
It's pretty hard to trust a security alarm company to keep you safe after one of their own rips you off. But for Lila Gettman, battling a fraudulent charge on her credit card, was the easy part. It was getting her alarm service cancelled after the violation, that was hard. That is, until we stepped in.
For newlyweds Lila and Ryan Gettman, paying for peace of mind, was a no-brainer.
"You never know what's going to happen. You're not home, you're working, you go out of town, you never know. Even while you're sleeping, people come inside," explained Lila.
But instead of peace of mind, they got ripped off.
One month after letting a Safeguard America salesman into her home, Lila noticed a big violation.
"I just was randomly checking my bank account one day and noticed there was something from PayPal on my account. I had never used PayPal before. I never -- never have even gone on PayPal before," said Lila.
The salesman she let into her home, paid one of his bills through PayPal with her debit card.
"It was a horrible feeling. It's just shock. It's bad. You don't know what to do and you're just ready to go find him," she said.
Lila reported the fraudulent charge to the Sheriff's Office, her bank and she immediately notified Safeguard America that one of their own tried to swindle her.
"They never believed me. They said that he didn't do it and there was you know, that I had no proof of anything. I have a police report. I have-- finally he was arrested and they don't believe me at all," Lila told WINK.
What Lila found out after the crime disturbed her even more. The salesman at the center of the theft, Jason Randall, who she let in her home, was accused of the same type of crime twice before while working for another alarm company. And to make matters worse, she discovered that he is a registered sex offender.
"That's horrible. We don't have any kids, but it's horrible knowing that he's going into people's houses that probably have kids-- to get an alarm a lot of times people get it because they have kids and they want to protect their family," Lila said.
We dug through hundreds of pages of public records from the State Attorney's Office and discovered that prosecutors charged Randall for all three fraudulent charge cases lumped together. The salesman pleaded "no contest" and was adjudicated guilty. He was forced to pay restitution and to stay away from all three victims. He's currently serving time in the Lee County Jail for those crimes.
And still, Lila was running into roadblocks when trying to get her three-year contract cancelled. Still getting bills in the mail, Lila turned to us. We reached out to the Florida branch of Safeguard America, to the person Lila had been in contact with for a year.
When we reached out to the corporate branch, Safe Home Security, out of Connecticut, they asked us at WINK News to send them the documents chronicling the salesman's arrest and prosecution.
After sending them the documents, we got this response about Lila's situation.
"Safe Home Security requested the information pertaining to the circumstances, regarding this matter. The information was never provided to SHS corporate headquarters, until this week. After careful review, the account has been canceled and the employee involved was terminated. We apologize to Ms [Gettman] for any inconvenience, this may have caused."
While this is good news, the year-long fight took a big toll on the newlyweds.
"So much drama. So much complication. It's horrible. To just think that every time you go to call somebody or try to find -- buy a car, try to do anything, you have to think about, who's going to take my information. You know, what's going to happen?" said Lila.
When we talked to Safeguard America's home office they did promise to look at Lila's credit report and clean up any dings that may have been caused by their company.